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122                              UFE   OF
arinenburg over Tjumen to Tobolsk, on the Irtysch,
and thence over Tara, through the fearful steppe of
Borabinski This steppe is notorious in the whole
country, and dreaded by all in its vicinity., for its
innumerable stinging insects of the gemis Tipidm^
but nevertheless Hunibolclt and his companions tra-
versed it with the same disinterestedness and devotion.
to the cause of science which we have already had
occasion to admire in the heroism, of this great na-
turalist during his Orinocco journey* On the 2nd
August he reached Barnaul, on the shores of the Obi,
and now the travellers explored the picturesquely-
beautiful Kolywanlake, and the rich silver mines* of
the Schlaugenberg, of Riddersk, and of Zyrlanowski,
situated on the south-western side of the Altai moun-
tains, The highest point of this ridge, the mountain
Bjelucha, called by the Calmucks, God's Mountain,
Jyct% or barren mountain; Alastu is of about the
height of Mount Etna, or? according to the investiga-
tions of the botanist Bunge, equal to the Peak pf
Teneriffa From Bidclersk, Humboldt and his com-
panions turned southward to the little fortress TJst-
Kamlenoigorsk., and crossing Buchtorminsk, arrived
on the boundaries of the Chinese Dsungarei. Here
he obtained permission to cross the boundary., which
he at once made use of to pay a short but interesting
and productive visit to the Mogul settlement of Bate,
also called Choninxaila-cku; and where he entered the
real Asiatic district of the proximate centre of Asia,
situated north of the Dsaisang lake, on the 17th
August.
The return from here to the fortress Ust-Kamenoi-
gorsk was highly interesting for its geological value,
and was suggestive of new researches ; for as he was
sailing back down the Irtysch, he saw on the secluded
shores of these waters, on a surface of more than
16,000 feet, immense rocks of granite, lying horizon-
* It may be imagined how considerable these mines are from the
annual proceeds, which amount to above 76,000 marks, or 40,842
pounds.